Sales so commonplace it’s hard to take them seriously

The husband needed new shorts for spring, so suggested we go to the mall.

“I hear there’s a big sale on right now,” he said.

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I pondered the comment, which struck me as odd, given that the big sale is the norm at the mall.

“There’s always a big sale on,” I said. “We can go next week or even next month, and the big sale will still be happening.”

It’s true. Whenever I go to the mall, the come-on signs in the storefront windows scream that EVERYTHING IS 50-PER-CENT OFF! Or that I can BUY A SWEATER, GET A SECOND ONE FREE! Or that if I spend $50, I’ll get a gift of my choice! 

It’s puzzling, given that there seldom appears to be anything resembling a “regular price.” Sure, there’s usually a price tag on the item — be it a shirt, a dress or a pair of sneakers — but it doesn’t mean much, given that it’s usually slashed in two.

We went to the mall, seeking new shorts for spring, and began to poke around.

“Let’s go in there,” the husband said. “Everything’s marked down.”

“Everything’s marked down everywhere,” I said. “I think that means there’s no such thing as a markdown.”

Besides, I told him, I wanted to go someplace where there was not only a sale, but also a freebie on offer.

“I want a gift of my choice,” I said.

“Like what?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” I said. “Maybe some lipstick. Or a novel.”

“It’s a sportswear store,” he said. “They won’t sell lipstick or novels.”

“Well, then,” I said. “Let’s move on.”

We moved on, and eventually found what the husband wanted: olive green shorts in a crease-free fabric that would be, oh, so right for spring. They were $60, but he got them for $25.

“Do we have your email address?” asked the clerk when we’d made our way to the till.

“Why do you want our email address?” I inquired.

“Oh,” said the clerk. “That way, you’ll get 25 per cent off your next purchase.”

Puzzled, I glanced at my husband, then looked back at the clerk.

“We’ll take a pass on the email,” I told him.

That, I thought, didn’t sound like a deal — especially without any gifts.

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